My TBR pile broke a record this year! Here are the books I read in 2018, described in 5 words or less.
1. The World According to Star Wars by Cass R. Sunstein
"Bear with me..." Uh, no.
2. It's All Relative by A.J. Jacobs
Not my fave Jacobs.
3. Unfiltered by Lily Collins
4. Blessed in the Darkness by Joel Osteen
This book is a blessing.
5. The Joy of Hygge by Johnny Jackson and Elias Larsen
Full color hygge!
6. The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay
So much potential.
7. Movie Megacheese by Mike Nelson
From a mind behind MST3K
8. Rilke: Selected Poems
Keep trying this poetry thing...
9. Eat Mangoes Naked by SARK
I forgot about SARK!
10. Mind Over Matters by Mike Nelson
Random funny essays.
11. Do Butlers Burgle Banks? by P.G. Wodehouse
The answer may surprise you.
12. Living Juice by SARK
A little creative inspo.
13. A Creative Companion
A little more creative inspo.
14. In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
A Bryson tribute to Australia
15. Treehouses of the World by Pete Nelson
I want a treehouse!
16. Healed of Cancer by Dodie Osteen
17. The Imagineering Field Guide to Disneyland by The Imagineers
I can't resist.
18. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
Two women on an adventure.
19. Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury
So many great take-aways.
20. The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradybury
Not my personal taste.
21. Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore
22. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Sweet. Favorite childhood author.
23. The Quilter's Kitchen by Jennifer Chiaverini
3/4 recipes, 1/4 story
24. Trollbridge: A Rock 'n Roll Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple
More Moira and Jacob!
25. Roverandom by J.R.R. Tolkein
26. Three-Ten to Yuma and Other Stories by Elmore Leonard
Some hits, some misses.
27. Fictitious Dishes by Dinah Fried
Place settings from books.
28. The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish
29. Hit the Road by Caroline B. Cooney
Mostly charming, a little infuriating.
30. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Close to film. Exciting!
31. The World According to Mister Rogers by Fred Rogers
We need more Mister Rogers.
32. Life Journeys According to Mister Rogers by Fred Rogers
Wisdom from our favorite neighbor
33. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
Ah, the adventures of childhood.
34. Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon
Read without stopping.
35. Coach Wooden and Me by Kareem Abdul Jabbar
A touching tribute.
36. You Are Special by Fred Rogers
Thanks, Mister Rogers!
37. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Movie a teeny bit better.
38. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
My first Hercule Poirot!
39. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
40. New Horizons: Mandie's College Years by Lois Gladys Leppard
Not the best Mandie.
41. Laughing Gas by P.G. Wodehouse
I'm so stressed out!
42. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
Want to steal this book.
43. Sam & Ilsah's Last Hurrah by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Lots of angst.
44. The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Needed more elevator time.
45. How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are by Berest, Diwan, de Maigret, and Mas
I feel Parisian already!
46. Dictionary Stories by Jez Burrows
What a clever idea!
47. Ann-Margret: My Story by Ann-Margret
Elvis parts incredibly touching.
48. Elvis World by Jane Stern and Michael Stern
Their "love" for Elvis questionable.
49. Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski
Could see as a movie.
50. Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
Super enjoyable, surprising read.
51. A Little Thing Called Life by Linda Thompson
Another dedicated Elvis ex-lover
52. Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
Characters who love music.
53. The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles
I could rant for days.
54. Just Kids by Patti Smith
55. My Life With Elvis by Becky Yancey
Everyday life at Graceland.
56. Christopher Robin by Elizabeth Rudnick
Sweet movie adaptation
57. My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper
58. To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
My first audiobook!
59. The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell
Needed more Lego.
60. Hindsight by Justin Timberlake
His life and process.
61. The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
Elvis's favorite book.
62. The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman
63. This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Phillips
A little whiney.
64. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
Crazy rich writing.
65. The Tiny Book of Tiny Pleasures by Irene Smit and Astrid vander Hulst
Great adventure ideas!
Also: Pocket Full of Colors, Ten Little Elvi, and The Little Man of Disneyland if you need picture book recs =)
Everything Everything, Just Kids, and Crazy Rich Asians are must-reads!
I always feel so fortunate to live in a place that is centrally located to some of my other favorite places. Case in point: Solvang. In an episode of Modern Family Clare refers to a "little Dutch town up North" from where they live in Southern California. Every time I see this episode I yell, "It's Danish!" at the TV. Because Solvang (though technically they don't mention it by name) is a Danish town. Think Chinatown in San Francisco or Olvera Street in LA, only a little bit more Disney.
When you visit Solvang you are whisked by horse-drawn trolley back in time to Old World Denmark. Everywhere you look you are surrounded by Danish architecture, Danish people, Danish food. I spend so much time creating themed things that sometimes I forget that Solvang isn't a themed Danish town, but a living breathing Danish town that wasn't created by a design firm as an attraction, but by a community celebrating their heritage.
I visit Solvang several times a year, but one of my favorite times to go (tied with Danish Days in September) is during Christmastime. Not only is everything decorated with twinkle lights and traditional Scandinavian ornamentation, but each year local businesses participate in a tree decorating contest. You haven't experienced Christmas until you've seen a tree covered in tiny pans filled with aebelskivers (pancake balls).
So this week I packed up Trixie and her stroller (the first time I saw a dog stroller was in Solvang and I found in ridiculous - I was so naïve) and set out with my Mom and brother for a little Day Trip. We found a great parking spot in a little courtyard behind some shops and made a beeline for our first Solvang Must See - The Book Loft. It's been a long time since I've bought brand new books from a bookstore, since most of my books come from the library or local used bookstore now, so I was positively giddy as I browsed the shop, having given myself permission to buy whatever I wanted.
We spent at least a half an hour perusing titles, reading back covers, and flipping through pages. I left with a book on Forest Bathing, a book on Tiny Pleasures by two Scandinavian writer/artists, an Edgar Allen Poe Candle (cardamom, absinthe, and sandalwood) to go along with the Ralph Waldo Emerson Candle I bought last year at a bookstore in Monterey (cedar and wild fern), a used copy of House at Pooh Corner, and a book called American Cozy. I'm kind of obsessed with the Hygge movement and this books was supposed to be the American version of that (update: it wasn't - do not recommend).
On this visit a skipped the Hans Christian Andersen Museum upstairs because I couldn't bring Trixie, but Erik went up and I always encourage everyone to take a peek.
After leaving the bookstore we walked up and down the two main shopping streets and, of course stopped at the Solvang Pretzel factory for amazingly soft and buttery pretzels with bright orange cheese spread that can't possibly come from nature but tastes like heaven. Then, full of pretzels (and fudge) we popped into a couple of souvenir shops and rounded out the day by buying socks. What, you don't buy socks as souvenirs? Okay, I don't either although now that I'm thinking about it, that's not a bad idea. But this time I bought a pair of thick, cozy socks in a colorful Scandi pattern that I hoped to wear while sipping tea and reading American Cozy (update: I did).
Happy and satisfied we drove the short 30 miles home. What a wonderful winter outing.
P.S. While I don't recommend American Cozy (seriously, it was just a book about organizing which is not hygge) I do recommend that you read Meik Wiking's The Little Book of Hygge.
If you're looking for delightfully illustrated journals that scream Adventure, you can't go wrong with Kate Pocrass's collection. I have three in my own collection and I find them super inspiring. Let's take a closer look...
En Route: A Journal
This is the most straight-forward journal of the trio. The first few pages are for making various lists (things to research, things to check out) which is very handy, but the rest of the pages are wonderfully blank so you can jot down any and all thoughts in whatever way you choose. And by blank I mean void of instruction, not that they are empty white pages. In fact every page is unique and colorful, with illustrations ranging from vintage cameras on orange backgrounds to Japanese mochi to luggage tags. One page might feature a dozen pale blue lines to write on, while another might be filled with flowers from around the world. The only problem, as with all of Kate's journals, is that you might not want to write in them because they're so darn cute!
I Was Here: A Travel Journal for the Curious Minded
If you love to travel and want a journal with a little bit more in the way of guidance, this is great option. In the front you will find places for contact information, lists, recommendations from friends, etc. Then the journal gets more personal as it urges you to have adventures. You are encouraged to read the local weekly paper at your destination, to take pictures of trees that look like vegetables, and draw your own maps. Some pages give you the opportunity to record specific details on specific days and some provide useful information like conversion charts. Taking a journal like this on a trip will ensure that you do not have a typical vacation experience!
Side Walks: A Journal for Exploring Your City
We're now 3 for 3 in the charming illustrations department. Seriously, guys. Kate's style is so fun you can't wait to see all the pages when you pick up one of her journals. While I Was Here focuses in trips, Side Walks focuses more on the staycation or Backyard Adventure. Kate suggests sitting and observing (complete with drawings of benches, bus stops, and stoops) and observing and recording what you see. Look for letters, look for certain colors, look for all of those little details you might not notice in your every day hustle and bustle. Try a new restaurant, walk down a different street, follow a stranger. In general just keep your eyes open and shake up the old routine.
All of Kate's journals are available on Amazon and you can get a great feel for her art on her website, www.katepocrass.com
"Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the sooner we will be able to treat life as art."